Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Egypt Explodes In Protest

Expand Messages
  • Gary
    Egypt Protests Explode Across CountryJanuary 28th, 2011 Robert Gibbs is now speaking in Washington. He says the President has been updated by the national
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 28, 2011
    • 0 Attachment
      Egypt Protests Explode Across CountryJanuary 28th, 2011 Robert Gibbs is now speaking in Washington. He says the President has been updated by the national security officer. President Obama has not spoken with President Mubarak. No new positions, all he says is for the people to refrain from violence and for the government to turn on the social networking sites. Government of Egypt must address legitimate grievances.
      Al Jazeera is reporting live from Egypt. The protests seem to be continuing. In Suez the police and army have given up the streets to protestors. Protests continue in Alexandria and Cairo as well. Tanks are rolling in Alexandria and Cairo. The presidential guard is attempting to protect the national TV center from protestors. The regime¡¯s party headquarters has been set on fire and is still burning. Protestors protected a nearby museum from fire indicating the intelligent and focused nature of the demonstrations. People are cheering the Army and some of the soldiers are waving Egyptian flags. What this means is unclear other than the people seem to see the Army as a neutral force. A dozen or more police vehicles have been burned around the burning NDP headquarters.
      Clinton is saying the US supports universal human rights of the Egyptian people. The US is reviewing aid to Egypt according to Al Jazeera.
      There are also protests in Yemen and Jordan today. The former regime members in the new Tunisian government have been forced out.
      Ahmed Morsi in Egypt says it is the right of the Egyptian people to reclaim their country and secure the streets for the people.
      The Egyptian government has attempted to shut down the social networks by blocking Twitter and other sites. Leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and civil society leaders such as
      From Dean Tukerman
      In Egypt, according to twitter sources : ¡°DIAL-UP ISP IS WORKING. Noor
      dsl is still working on Dial up numbers (0777 7770),(0777 7000) SPREAD
      THE WORD #jan25¡å ¡°I CONFIRM NOOR DSL IS WORKING GOV CAN¡¯T TAKE IT DOWN
      COZ THE STOCK MARKET & BANKS ARE CONNECTED TO IT¡±
      From Guardian.UK
      7.56pm GMT: CNN¡¯s Ben Wedeman ¨C who has been doing an excellent job all day ¨C is asked why things have calmed down in Ciaro. ¡°Jim, things have calmed down because there is no government here,¡± saying that police and army had disappeared.
      Is something about to happen?
      7.49pm GMT: The White House press briefing room is full of journalists awaiting the press conference that is about to be held. It¡¯s being said that the US government doesn¡¯t want to be pre-empted by a TV appearance by President Mubarak on Egyptian television.
      My guess is that if Mubarak hasn¡¯t appeared on television by now then he¡¯s not going to tonight, except in extreme circumstances.
      7.43pm GMT: Al-Jazeera is showing some great live footage of the looting of the National Democratic Party headquarters ¨C and is reporting that the protesters are forming a ¡°human shield¡± around the nearby national museum.
      Meanwhile, Nile TV, the Egyptian state broadcaster, is now also showing footage of the protests ¨C perhaps a significant event, since it contadicts the broadcaster¡¯s earlier footage.
      7.35pm GMT: There is a White House briefing on Egypt promised shortly, but the Associated Press has this bombshell ¨C that the Obama administration is using US aid to Egypt as leverage over the Mubarak regime:
      An Obama administration official says the US will review its $1.5bn in aid to Egypt based on events unfolding in the country, where the authoritarian government is struggling to extinguish huge and growing street protests.
      The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the situation. Egypt has been a key US ally in the volatile region. US officials are now increasing calls on President Hosni Mubarak, the target of the protesters, to respond with restraint and reverse steps taken to cut off the protesters¡¯ ability to communicate.
      The decision to review assistance to Egypt is a significant step as the US seeks to balance the desire to maintain stability in the region with a recognition of the unexpected scope and uncertain outcome of the protests.
      7.30pm GMT: Time magazine talks to ¡°a minister in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,¡± and reports that Israel appears to be backing the Mubarak regime:
      With a deep investment in the status quo, Israel is watching what a senior official calls ¡°an earthquake in the Middle East¡± with growing concern. The official says the Jewish state has faith in the security apparatus of its most formidable Arab neighbor, Egypt, to suppress the street demonstrations that threaten the dictatorial rule of President Hosni Mubarak. The harder question is what comes next.
      But this was the most eye-catching quote from the unidentified minister:
      ¡°I¡¯m not sure the time is right for the Arab region to go through the democratic process.¡±
      7.26pm GMT: Reuters is now reporting a witness saying that the army has dispersed the protesters who tried to storm Egypt¡¯s state television building in central Cairo.
      The Al Arabiya network had earlier reported that demonstrators had forced their way in, but the state television channel was broadcasting throughout.
      7.15pm GMT: The White House has just announced that it is postponing its planned press conference on the situation in Egypt. There¡¯s some speculation that may be because Obama himself wants to make a statement personally, but in any case it has been postponed for the time being.
      7.11pm GMT: The US State Department has said that US citizens should postpone non-essential travel to Egypt and urged US citizens in the country to ¡°exercise caution¡±. The State Department also says Americans should not try to go to the US embassy since Egyptian security forces may block off the area around the embassy.
      7.04pm GMT: Thanks Haroon, this is Richard Adams in the Guardian¡¯s bureau in Washington DC, where there has been an abrupt change in attitudes towards events in Egypt today.
      The main US cable news networks had given Egypt minimal coverage so far this week, partly because of the time difference but also because of the president¡¯s state of the union address on Tuesday night absorbing so much energy.
      That has all changed today, with the the extraordinary scenes from Egypt filling America¡¯s TV screens ¨C even if the early morning bulletins were more interested in Charlie Sheen¡¯s hernia.
      The exception has been Fox News, where coverage has been more muted. ¡°You probably don¡¯t give a lot of time thinking about Egypt,¡± a Fox News presenter suggested about an hour ago, before explaining that ¡°groups linked to al-Qaida¡± were in danger of taking over the government in Cairo.
      6.59pm: Here¡¯s a summary of the day¡¯s events so far on a momentous day in Egypt¡¯s history:
      President Hosni Mubarak has ordered a curfew in three cities (3.30pm), later extended to the entire country, which was supposed to start at 6pm today and last until 7am tomorrow morning but it has been roundly ignored as clashes have continued.
      Mubarak has sent in the army to restore order in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez but protesters cheered the army in some areas, calling on them to side with them against the police (3.43 pm). In some areas the army has done so. Soldiers have shaken hands with protesters in Alexandria and in Cairo. Demonstrators have clambered onto tanks in Suez and Cairo. There have also been unconfirmed reports of clashes between the army and police
      There have been unconfirmed reports of many protesters killed today, including a woman in Tahrir square in Cairo, two people in Suez, one named as Hamada Labib, 30, a driver., one person in Alexandria and a 14-year-old in Port Said.
      In the country¡¯s strongest intervention so far, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said the US is ¡°deeply concerned about the use of violence by Egyptian police and security forces against protestors¡±. (5.12pm)
      Some police are reported to have joined the protesters, who welcomed them to their ranks. (5.05pm)
      Police immediately attacked protesters after Friday prayers (11.12am) but protesters remained defiant and fought back, overwhelming police and government buildings right across the country. The ruling NDP¡¯s party headquarters in Cairo were set on fire (4.23pm).
      I¡¯m handing over the blog to my colleague Richard Adams now.
      6.54pm: Rachel Stevenson, who freelances for Guardian films, is in the Egyptian holiday resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. She says they are isolated from what¡¯s happening elsewhere, there are no demonstrations and people are ignroing the curfew. But she says people in the tourist industry there support the protests not least because they have the same concerns, being in poorly paid jobs despite many of them being highly educated.
      6.42pm: Apparently, bizarrely, it¡¯s the president¡¯s national guard being cheered through the streets of Cairo as they make their way to the state TV station, which has been taken over by protesters.
      The Egyptian museum, full of priceless artefacts, is said to be at risk from the fire at the NDP headquarters.
      6.39pm: The army are being cheered as they pass in tanks/armoured cars in Cairo by protesters who are clambering on to the vehicles.
      6.05pm: US president Barack Obama has convened his national security team on the growing protests in Egypt, the Associated Press reports:
      Obama¡¯s 40-minute session on Friday took the place of his daily national security briefing. It included Vice President Joe Biden and his national security adviser, Tom Donilon. Aides said additional briefings are planned during the day.
      5.49pm: The latest from Alexandria from Peter Bouckaert, of Human Rights Watch:
      4.56pm: Here are some of the best bits from the live Q&A on the Middle East protests, which the Guardian website hosted today. Answering the questions was Brian Whitaker, former Middle East editor and current editor with CIF.
      Q. A question about an Eqyptian democracy¡­ is there a basis for hope? is there a political culture that can step up to represent the people and what role will youth play in the new landscape?
      Brian¡¯s Answer: Egypt already has the infrastructure to turn into a working democracy ¡ª elected parliament, long-established political parties, etc. The problem is the the NDP has monopolised this system for a very long time.
      So the transition to a working democracy would not be all that difficult, though I would expect it to be a somewhat flawed democracy for some time - maybe like some of the East European or Latin American countries.
      One problem is that most of the opposition parties are just as hidebound as the regime. The younger ¡°Facebook generation¡± doesn¡¯t seem to have much interest in them and prefers to do things in its own way. Youth movements are going to become more and more important, and they are a very hopeful sign.
      Q. What are the chances that all this could be repeated in Syria?
      Brian¡¯s answer: I was discussing that with an Arab friend yesterday. We both felt that it would be very difficult at present in Syria to organise the kind of protests seen in Tunisia and Egypt. One thing you need for it to happen is a civil society structure of some kind, whether it¡¯s trade unions, opposition parties or NGOs, plus a lot of internet users. I don¡¯t think Syria has that. Instead, it as a very proficient secret police.
      That said, I would expect the Syrian regime to be very scared. Yemenis have told me of the panic in the Marxist regime in the PDRY following the revolution in Romania in 1989 ¡ª they feared it could happen to them. I would expect similar fears in the Syrian regime.
      Who knows? Could they be the ones who decide to reform rather than waiting to be toppled?
      Q. How likely do you think it is that these uprisings will drive Egypt & Tunisia towards democracy? Is it likely that these situations will descend into sectarian or ethnic conflict as we seen in Kyrgyzstan last year?
      Brian¡¯s answer: Adapting to democracy will be a lot easier in Tunisia and Egypt than it was in Iraq. There are no major ethnic issues; Egypt does have something of a sectarian problem but it is not insurmountable.
      4.52pm: Once more amazing scenes being broadcast on al-Jazeera, as protesters stop for prayer. There is the sound of explosions and gunshots in the background as about six rows of people form rows and prostrate themselves on the ground.
      4.49pm: This Guardian video tells the story of how events unfolded and escalated today after Friday prayers:
      4.45pm: A downtown police station in Cairo, police cars and gas tanks outside the police station are on fire, which could account for the number of loud explosions being heard, al-Jazeera reports.
      4.43pm: Amin Iskander, an opposition politician from the Nasserist Al-Karama party, just told al-Jazeera what is needed from Mubarak is ¡°a firm promise that this his last term he spends in office¡± and he must pave the way for democracy. But Iskander does not believe Mubarak will stand down. He said NDP headquarters are being set on fire across the country because the party had ¡°gobbled up the riches¡± of the country.
      4.40pm: Obama¡¯s press secretary Robert Gibbs has expressed concerned about the violence and urged the government to respect the freedom of speech.
      Very concerned about violence in Egypt - government must respect the rights of the Egyptian people & turn on social networking and internet
      4.37pm: Military vehicles are on the streets, but it¡¯s unclear whose side they are on, Peter Beaumont reports from Cairo.
      Listen! - Show quoted text - Turn off auto refresh to listen to audio
      4.30pm: We were expecting Hosni Mubarak or his son Gamal to speak (there were mixed reports as to who was going to speak) half an hour ago but we have still not heard anything.
      4.28pm: The US state department has responded to the protests via Twitter, which Egypt has of course tried to prevent its own citizens from using. PJ Crowley (@pjcrowley), US state department spokesman, tweeted:
      Events unfolding in #Egypt are of deep concern. Fundamental rights must be respected, violence avoided and open communications allowed.
      Reform is vital to #Egypt¡¯s long-term well-being. The Egyptian government should view its people as a partner and not as a threat.
      4.23pm: TV pictures show the headquarters of the ruling NDP in Cairo are on fire.
      4.22pm: Army tanks are rolling into the centre of Cairo and Suez, al-Jazeera reports. Mubarak has supposedly ordered them in to restore order but people have been cheering the army hoping it will side with them against the police.
      4.11pm: This is the response to the curfew in Cairo. This is the van protesters have been trying to push into the nile (see 4pm).
      Screen grab from al Jazeera
      4.07pm: There are a couple of Guardian stories on the Wikileaks Egypt documents worth reading. One is about the closeness of Egypt¡¯s relationship with the US:
      Secret US embassy cables sent from Cairo in the past two years reveal that the Obama administration wanted to maintain a close political and military relationship with the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, who is now facing a popular uprising.
      A frank briefing note in May 2009 ahead of Mubarak¡¯s trip to Washington, leaked by WikiLeaks, reported that the Egyptian president had a dismal opinion of Obama¡¯s predecessor, George Bush.
      ¡°The Egyptians want the visit to demonstrate that Egypt remains America¡¯s ¡®indispensable Arab ally¡¯, and that bilateral tensions have abated. President Mubarak is the proud leader of a proud nation ¡­ Mubarak is 81 years old and in reasonably good health; his most notable problem is a hearing deficit in his left ear. He responds well to respect for Egypt and for his position, but is not swayed by personal flattery,¡± the cable said.
      The other is about a document on police brutality in Egypt:
      Under Hosni Mubarak¡¯s presidency there had been ¡°no serious effort to transform the police from an instrument of regime power into a public service institution¡±, it said. The police¡¯s ubiquitous use of force had pervaded Egyptian culture to such an extent that one popular TV soap opera recently featured a police detective hero who beat up suspects to collect evidence.
      Some middle-class Egyptians did not report thefts from their apartment blocks because they knew the police would immediately go and torture ¡°all of the doormen¡±, the cable added. It cited one source who said the police would use routinely electric shocks against suspected criminals, and would beat up human rights lawyers who enter police stations to defend their clients. Women detainees allegedly faced sexual abuse. Demoralised officers felt solving crimes justified brutal interrogation methods, with some believing that Islamic law also sanctioned torture, the cable said.
      4.00pm: The curfew is in place, but the protests continue. Live footage from Cairo shows protesters trying to push a police van into the Nile.
      3.56pm: Murabak ordered the military onto the streets, according to al-Jazeera, citing state media.
      3.55pm: Mubarak is due to address the nation in the next few minutes. Al-Jazeera¡¯s offices in Cairo are being raided by police. They are being told to stop broadcasting images of the unrest.
      3.51pm: In Alexandria Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director of Human Rights Watch, witnessed four police cars on fire in front of the Siddi Brahim mosque.
      3.48pm: Britain¡¯s foreign secretary William Hague called on both sides to ¡°refrain from violence¡±. But he said: ¡°It is is important to recognise that people involved do have legitimate grievances, both economic and political. And it is important for the authorities to respond positively to that, and to be able to hold out the hope and prospect of reform in the future. That is the answer to the situation rather than repression.¡±
      Hague repeated western ambiguity towards the regime. ¡°It is not for use to try to choose the rulers of other countries. For the moment we should concentrating on advocating the right response.¡± He called for ¡°evolutionary change¡±.
      In a pooled interview Hague said the Foreign Office was reviewing travel advice to Egypt.
      Based on a phone call to the British ambassador in Cairo, Hague said the main ¡°problems¡± were in Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez. ¡°Those are places where there is the greatest risk of violence,¡± Hague said.
      He added: ¡°We are not sure of the whereabouts of the Mohamed ElBaradei. There are rumours of restraints on his movements, but we don¡¯t have any specific information.¡±
      3.43pm: Egyptian state TV says Mubarak has asked the army to take charge of security alongside the police. Looks like that is how he intends to impose the curfew, due to start in about 15 minutes.
      3.38pm: State security have entered al-Jazeera¡¯s building in Cairo, it is reporting. It says they may have been chasing activists.
      Outside the news organisation¡¯s offices, in remarkable scenes, a momentary truce has been called between police and protesters while protesters pray. Just a few moments ago police were throwing teargas cannisters at them and now this:
      Screengrab from al-Jazeera
      3.30pm: Egyptian state media is reporting a curfew starting at 6pm tonight (about 30 minutes away) and running until 7am tomorrow in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez.
      The way it¡¯s looking on the streets at the moment suggests there is little chance of people obeying the order and what can the police actually do to enforce it.
      3.26pm: Protesters are in control of most streets in Alexandria, says al-Jazeera.
      3.24pm: A screengrab shows the BBC Arabic journalist Asad Al Sawi after he was attacked by thugs acting for the government.
      3.17pm: A second police station has been taken over by protesters in Suez, reports al-Jazeera.
      3.12pm: Following up from the previous update, al-Jazeera just showed pictures of protesters jumping and cheering beside what appeared to be an army armoured vehicle in Cairo with the occupants in the vehicle not responding in any kind of negative fashion. It¡¯s too early to get carried away but al-Jazeera was suggesting this could be a sign that the army¡¯s allegiance is with the people.
      Let¡¯s just hope the hopes of the people are not misplaced.
      3.05pm: Egyptian protesters in Cairo are calling for the army to side with them against the police, Reuters reports:
      Egyptian protesters in Cairo chanted slogans calling for the army to support them, complaining of police violence during clashes on Friday in which security forces fired teargas and rubber bullets. ¡°Where is the army? Come and see what the police is doing to us. We want the army. We want the army,¡± the protesters in one area of central Cairo shouted, shortly before police fired teargas on them.
      3.03pm: The International Crisis Group has condemned the detention of Mohamed ElBaradei, who serves on Crisis Group¡¯s board of trustees, and the violence against the demonstrators:
      Crisis Group President Louise Arbour said:
      His detention has no credible basis. It also will not serve Egypt¡¯s interests at this critical juncture. In a situation as tense as this, repression and abuse can only further inflame the situation. Rather than resort to repression, the authorities should heed demands of the population for dramatic political, social and economic transformation.
      2.58pm: An incredible picture from Cairo, taken earlier today, of people praying in the streets surrounded by riot police.
      Locals pray in the street in front of The l-Istiqama Mosque watched by riot police in Giza on January 28, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
      2.53pm: Protesters have named the man killed in Suez (2.37pm) as Hamada Labib, 30, a driver.. They blamed his death on a gunshot, reports Reuters. It adds:
      Egyptian police abandoned central areas of the industrial port city after demonstrations in which thousands of protesters overwhelmed security lines and torched a police station, a Reuters witness said. Police had tried to disperse the protesters, who hurled stones and chanted for the end to President Hosni Mubarak¡¯s rule. But they were unable to contain them and moved back, abandoning at least eight big police trucks. Protesters smashed the windows and tried to flip one of the trucks over. Hundreds of members of security forces had gathered in a large group around the governor¡¯s offence, where there was no sign of protesters.
      2.50pm: Rawya Rageh, for al-Jazeera, says she has seen evidence of a protester killed in Alexandria, a bloody body being held aloft through the streets with people chanting ¡°There is no God but God¡±. She adds that police have now been overrun by protesters in the city.
      2.48pm: The NDP headquarters in Dumya/Daniette, 131 miles north-east of Cairo, and Al Mansoura, 120km north-east of Cairohave both been destroyed, according to the Egyptian Association for Change.
      2.39pm: Egyptian security officials say Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei is under house arrest.
      2.37pm: Reuters is reporting the death of protester in Suez:
      Egyptians carried the body of a protester through Suez on Friday after clashes with police who withdrew from central areas of the eastern city leaving some main streets to demonstrators, a Reuters witness said. ¡°They have killed my brother,¡± shouted one of the demonstrators.
      2.32pm: Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director of Human Rights Watch, gives this detailed account of how protesters overwhelmed police in Alexandria today.
      After prayers, the protesters came out of a mosque and started shouting slogans. They were saying ¡°peaceful, peaceful¡± and raising their hands. They were immediately attacked by police in an armoured car firing teargas. Fierce clashes started then, with exchanges of rock throwing. About 200 police faced about 1,000 protesters. The clashes lasted for nearly two hours. Then a much larger crowd of protesters came from another direction. They were packed in four blocks deep. Police tried to hold them back with teargas and rubber bullets, but they were finally overwhelmed.
      Then the police just gave up, at about the time of afternoon prayers. Protesters gave water to police and talked to them. It was was all peaceful. Hundreds of protesters were praying in the street.
      Now walking down to downtown Alexandria, the whole road is packed as far as we can see, people shouting slogans against [Hosni] Mubarak and his son Gamal. Asking others to join them. It is a very festive atmosphere. Women in veils, old men, children, I even saw a blind man being led. And there are no police anywhere.
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2011/jan/28/egypt-protests-live-updates#block-22
    • Trin Kiger
      Thanks Gary for this feed, it s hotter than hell! El Triño ________________________________ From: Gary To: smygo@yahoogroups.com Sent:
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 28, 2011
      • 0 Attachment
        Thanks Gary for this feed, it's hotter than hell!

        El Triño





        ________________________________
        From: Gary <garyrumor2@...>
        To: smygo@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Fri, January 28, 2011 12:20:29 PM
        Subject: [smygo] Egypt Explodes In Protest


        Egypt Protests Explode Across CountryJanuary 28th, 2011 Robert Gibbs is now
        speaking in Washington. He says the President has been updated by the national
        security officer. President Obama has not spoken with President Mubarak. No new
        positions, all he says is for the people to refrain from violence and for the
        government to turn on the social networking sites. Government of Egypt must
        address legitimate grievances.

        Al Jazeera is reporting live from Egypt. The protests seem to be continuing. In
        Suez the police and army have given up the streets to protestors. Protests
        continue in Alexandria and Cairo as well. Tanks are rolling in Alexandria and
        Cairo. The presidential guard is attempting to protect the national TV center
        from protestors. The regime¡¯s party headquarters has been set on fire and is
        still burning. Protestors protected a nearby museum from fire indicating the
        intelligent and focused nature of the demonstrations. People are cheering the
        Army and some of the soldiers are waving Egyptian flags. What this means is
        unclear other than the people seem to see the Army as a neutral force. A dozen
        or more police vehicles have been burned around the burning NDP headquarters.
        Clinton is saying the US supports universal human rights of the Egyptian people.
        The US is reviewing aid to Egypt according to Al Jazeera.
        There are also protests in Yemen and Jordan today. The former regime members in
        the new Tunisian government have been forced out.
        Ahmed Morsi in Egypt says it is the right of the Egyptian people to reclaim
        their country and secure the streets for the people.
        The Egyptian government has attempted to shut down the social networks by
        blocking Twitter and other sites. Leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and civil
        society leaders such as

        From Dean Tukerman
        In Egypt, according to twitter sources : ¡°DIAL-UP ISP IS WORKING. Noor
        dsl is still working on Dial up numbers (0777 7770),(0777 7000) SPREAD
        THE WORD #jan25¡å ¡°I CONFIRM NOOR DSL IS WORKING GOV CAN¡¯T TAKE IT DOWN
        COZ THE STOCK MARKET & BANKS ARE CONNECTED TO IT¡±
        From Guardian.UK
        7.56pm GMT: CNN¡¯s Ben Wedeman ¨C who has been doing an excellent job all day ¨C
        is asked why things have calmed down in Ciaro. ¡°Jim, things have calmed down
        because there is no government here,¡± saying that police and army had
        disappeared.
        Is something about to happen?
        7.49pm GMT: The White House press briefing room is full of journalists awaiting
        the press conference that is about to be held. It¡¯s being said that the US
        government doesn¡¯t want to be pre-empted by a TV appearance by President
        Mubarak on Egyptian television.
        My guess is that if Mubarak hasn¡¯t appeared on television by now then he¡¯s not
        going to tonight, except in extreme circumstances.
        7.43pm GMT: Al-Jazeera is showing some great live footage of the looting of the
        National Democratic Party headquarters ¨C and is reporting that the protesters
        are forming a ¡°human shield¡± around the nearby national museum.
        Meanwhile, Nile TV, the Egyptian state broadcaster, is now also showing footage
        of the protests ¨C perhaps a significant event, since it contadicts the
        broadcaster¡¯s earlier footage.
        7.35pm GMT: There is a White House briefing on Egypt promised shortly, but the
        Associated Press has this bombshell ¨C that the Obama administration is using US
        aid to Egypt as leverage over the Mubarak regime:
        An Obama administration official says the US will review its $1.5bn in aid to
        Egypt based on events unfolding in the country, where the authoritarian
        government is struggling to extinguish huge and growing street protests.
        The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the
        situation. Egypt has been a key US ally in the volatile region. US officials are
        now increasing calls on President Hosni Mubarak, the target of the protesters,
        to respond with restraint and reverse steps taken to cut off the protesters¡¯
        ability to communicate.
        The decision to review assistance to Egypt is a significant step as the US seeks
        to balance the desire to maintain stability in the region with a recognition of
        the unexpected scope and uncertain outcome of the protests.
        7.30pm GMT: Time magazine talks to ¡°a minister in the government of Prime
        Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,¡± and reports that Israel appears to be backing the
        Mubarak regime:
        With a deep investment in the status quo, Israel is watching what a senior
        official calls ¡°an earthquake in the Middle East¡± with growing concern. The
        official says the Jewish state has faith in the security apparatus of its most
        formidable Arab neighbor, Egypt, to suppress the street demonstrations that
        threaten the dictatorial rule of President Hosni Mubarak. The harder question is
        what comes next.
        But this was the most eye-catching quote from the unidentified minister:
        ¡°I¡¯m not sure the time is right for the Arab region to go through the
        democratic process.¡±
        7.26pm GMT: Reuters is now reporting a witness saying that the army has
        dispersed the protesters who tried to storm Egypt¡¯s state television building
        in central Cairo.
        The Al Arabiya network had earlier reported that demonstrators had forced their
        way in, but the state television channel was broadcasting throughout.
        7.15pm GMT: The White House has just announced that it is postponing its planned
        press conference on the situation in Egypt. There¡¯s some speculation that may
        be because Obama himself wants to make a statement personally, but in any case
        it has been postponed for the time being.
        7.11pm GMT: The US State Department has said that US citizens should postpone
        non-essential travel to Egypt and urged US citizens in the country to ¡°exercise
        caution¡±. The State Department also says Americans should not try to go to the
        US embassy since Egyptian security forces may block off the area around the
        embassy.
        7.04pm GMT: Thanks Haroon, this is Richard Adams in the Guardian¡¯s bureau in
        Washington DC, where there has been an abrupt change in attitudes towards events
        in Egypt today.
        The main US cable news networks had given Egypt minimal coverage so far this
        week, partly because of the time difference but also because of the president¡¯s
        state of the union address on Tuesday night absorbing so much energy.
        That has all changed today, with the the extraordinary scenes from Egypt filling
        America¡¯s TV screens ¨C even if the early morning bulletins were more
        interested in Charlie Sheen¡¯s hernia.
        The exception has been Fox News, where coverage has been more muted. ¡°You
        probably don¡¯t give a lot of time thinking about Egypt,¡± a Fox News presenter
        suggested about an hour ago, before explaining that ¡°groups linked to
        al-Qaida¡± were in danger of taking over the government in Cairo.
        6.59pm: Here¡¯s a summary of the day¡¯s events so far on a momentous day in
        Egypt¡¯s history:
        President Hosni Mubarak has ordered a curfew in three cities (3.30pm), later
        extended to the entire country, which was supposed to start at 6pm today and
        last until 7am tomorrow morning but it has been roundly ignored as clashes have
        continued.
        Mubarak has sent in the army to restore order in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez but
        protesters cheered the army in some areas, calling on them to side with them
        against the police (3.43 pm). In some areas the army has done so. Soldiers have
        shaken hands with protesters in Alexandria and in Cairo. Demonstrators have
        clambered onto tanks in Suez and Cairo. There have also been unconfirmed reports
        of clashes between the army and police
        There have been unconfirmed reports of many protesters killed today, including a
        woman in Tahrir square in Cairo, two people in Suez, one named as Hamada Labib,
        30, a driver., one person in Alexandria and a 14-year-old in Port Said.
        In the country¡¯s strongest intervention so far, US secretary of state Hillary
        Clinton said the US is ¡°deeply concerned about the use of violence by Egyptian
        police and security forces against protestors¡±. (5.12pm)
        Some police are reported to have joined the protesters, who welcomed them to
        their ranks. (5.05pm)
        Police immediately attacked protesters after Friday prayers (11.12am) but
        protesters remained defiant and fought back, overwhelming police and government
        buildings right across the country. The ruling NDP¡¯s party headquarters in
        Cairo were set on fire (4.23pm).
        I¡¯m handing over the blog to my colleague Richard Adams now.
        6.54pm: Rachel Stevenson, who freelances for Guardian films, is in the Egyptian
        holiday resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. She says they are isolated from what¡¯s
        happening elsewhere, there are no demonstrations and people are ignroing the
        curfew. But she says people in the tourist industry there support the protests
        not least because they have the same concerns, being in poorly paid jobs despite
        many of them being highly educated.
        6.42pm: Apparently, bizarrely, it¡¯s the president¡¯s national guard being
        cheered through the streets of Cairo as they make their way to the state TV
        station, which has been taken over by protesters.
        The Egyptian museum, full of priceless artefacts, is said to be at risk from the
        fire at the NDP headquarters.
        6.39pm: The army are being cheered as they pass in tanks/armoured cars in Cairo
        by protesters who are clambering on to the vehicles.
        6.05pm: US president Barack Obama has convened his national security team on the
        growing protests in Egypt, the Associated Press reports:
        Obama¡¯s 40-minute session on Friday took the place of his daily national
        security briefing. It included Vice President Joe Biden and his national
        security adviser, Tom Donilon. Aides said additional briefings are planned
        during the day.
        5.49pm: The latest from Alexandria from Peter Bouckaert, of Human Rights Watch:
        4.56pm: Here are some of the best bits from the live Q&A on the Middle East
        protests, which the Guardian website hosted today. Answering the questions was
        Brian Whitaker, former Middle East editor and current editor with CIF.
        Q. A question about an Eqyptian democracy¡­ is there a basis for hope? is there
        a political culture that can step up to represent the people and what role will
        youth play in the new landscape?
        Brian¡¯s Answer: Egypt already has the infrastructure to turn into a working
        democracy ¡ª elected parliament, long-established political parties, etc. The
        problem is the the NDP has monopolised this system for a very long time.
        So the transition to a working democracy would not be all that difficult, though
        I would expect it to be a somewhat flawed democracy for some time - maybe like
        some of the East European or Latin American countries.
        One problem is that most of the opposition parties are just as hidebound as the
        regime. The younger ¡°Facebook generation¡± doesn¡¯t seem to have much interest
        in them and prefers to do things in its own way. Youth movements are going to
        become more and more important, and they are a very hopeful sign.
        Q. What are the chances that all this could be repeated in Syria?
        Brian¡¯s answer: I was discussing that with an Arab friend yesterday. We both
        felt that it would be very difficult at present in Syria to organise the kind of
        protests seen in Tunisia and Egypt. One thing you need for it to happen is a
        civil society structure of some kind, whether it¡¯s trade unions, opposition
        parties or NGOs, plus a lot of internet users. I don¡¯t think Syria has that.
        Instead, it as a very proficient secret police.
        That said, I would expect the Syrian regime to be very scared. Yemenis have told
        me of the panic in the Marxist regime in the PDRY following the revolution in
        Romania in 1989 ¡ª they feared it could happen to them. I would expect similar
        fears in the Syrian regime.
        Who knows? Could they be the ones who decide to reform rather than waiting to be
        toppled?
        Q. How likely do you think it is that these uprisings will drive Egypt & Tunisia
        towards democracy? Is it likely that these situations will descend into
        sectarian or ethnic conflict as we seen in Kyrgyzstan last year?
        Brian¡¯s answer: Adapting to democracy will be a lot easier in Tunisia and Egypt
        than it was in Iraq. There are no major ethnic issues; Egypt does have something
        of a sectarian problem but it is not insurmountable.
        4.52pm: Once more amazing scenes being broadcast on al-Jazeera, as protesters
        stop for prayer. There is the sound of explosions and gunshots in the background
        as about six rows of people form rows and prostrate themselves on the ground.
        4.49pm: This Guardian video tells the story of how events unfolded and escalated
        today after Friday prayers:
        4.45pm: A downtown police station in Cairo, police cars and gas tanks outside
        the police station are on fire, which could account for the number of loud
        explosions being heard, al-Jazeera reports.
        4.43pm: Amin Iskander, an opposition politician from the Nasserist Al-Karama
        party, just told al-Jazeera what is needed from Mubarak is ¡°a firm promise that
        this his last term he spends in office¡± and he must pave the way for democracy.
        But Iskander does not believe Mubarak will stand down. He said NDP headquarters
        are being set on fire across the country because the party had ¡°gobbled up the
        riches¡± of the country.
        4.40pm: Obama¡¯s press secretary Robert Gibbs has expressed concerned about the
        violence and urged the government to respect the freedom of speech.
        Very concerned about violence in Egypt - government must respect the rights of
        the Egyptian people & turn on social networking and internet
        4.37pm: Military vehicles are on the streets, but it¡¯s unclear whose side they
        are on, Peter Beaumont reports from Cairo.
        Listen! - Show quoted text - Turn off auto refresh to listen to audio
        4.30pm: We were expecting Hosni Mubarak or his son Gamal to speak (there were
        mixed reports as to who was going to speak) half an hour ago but we have still
        not heard anything.
        4.28pm: The US state department has responded to the protests via Twitter, which
        Egypt has of course tried to prevent its own citizens from using. PJ Crowley
        (@pjcrowley), US state department spokesman, tweeted:
        Events unfolding in #Egypt are of deep concern. Fundamental rights must be
        respected, violence avoided and open communications allowed.
        Reform is vital to #Egypt¡¯s long-term well-being. The Egyptian government
        should view its people as a partner and not as a threat.
        4.23pm: TV pictures show the headquarters of the ruling NDP in Cairo are on
        fire.
        4.22pm: Army tanks are rolling into the centre of Cairo and Suez, al-Jazeera
        reports. Mubarak has supposedly ordered them in to restore order but people have
        been cheering the army hoping it will side with them against the police.
        4.11pm: This is the response to the curfew in Cairo. This is the van protesters
        have been trying to push into the nile (see 4pm).
        Screen grab from al Jazeera
        4.07pm: There are a couple of Guardian stories on the Wikileaks Egypt documents
        worth reading. One is about the closeness of Egypt¡¯s relationship with the US:
        Secret US embassy cables sent from Cairo in the past two years reveal that the
        Obama administration wanted to maintain a close political and military
        relationship with the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, who is now facing a
        popular uprising.
        A frank briefing note in May 2009 ahead of Mubarak¡¯s trip to Washington, leaked
        by WikiLeaks, reported that the Egyptian president had a dismal opinion of
        Obama¡¯s predecessor, George Bush.
        ¡°The Egyptians want the visit to demonstrate that Egypt remains America¡¯s
        ¡®indispensable Arab ally¡¯, and that bilateral tensions have abated. President
        Mubarak is the proud leader of a proud nation ¡­ Mubarak is 81 years old and in
        reasonably good health; his most notable problem is a hearing deficit in his
        left ear. He responds well to respect for Egypt and for his position, but is not
        swayed by personal flattery,¡± the cable said.
        The other is about a document on police brutality in Egypt:
        Under Hosni Mubarak¡¯s presidency there had been ¡°no serious effort to
        transform the police from an instrument of regime power into a public service
        institution¡±, it said. The police¡¯s ubiquitous use of force had pervaded
        Egyptian culture to such an extent that one popular TV soap opera recently
        featured a police detective hero who beat up suspects to collect evidence.
        Some middle-class Egyptians did not report thefts from their apartment blocks
        because they knew the police would immediately go and torture ¡°all of the
        doormen¡±, the cable added. It cited one source who said the police would use
        routinely electric shocks against suspected criminals, and would beat up human
        rights lawyers who enter police stations to defend their clients. Women
        detainees allegedly faced sexual abuse. Demoralised officers felt solving crimes
        justified brutal interrogation methods, with some believing that Islamic law
        also sanctioned torture, the cable said.
        4.00pm: The curfew is in place, but the protests continue. Live footage from
        Cairo shows protesters trying to push a police van into the Nile.
        3.56pm: Murabak ordered the military onto the streets, according to al-Jazeera,
        citing state media.
        3.55pm: Mubarak is due to address the nation in the next few minutes.
        Al-Jazeera¡¯s offices in Cairo are being raided by police. They are being told
        to stop broadcasting images of the unrest.
        3.51pm: In Alexandria Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director of Human Rights
        Watch, witnessed four police cars on fire in front of the Siddi Brahim mosque.
        3.48pm: Britain¡¯s foreign secretary William Hague called on both sides to
        ¡°refrain from violence¡±. But he said: ¡°It is is important to recognise that
        people involved do have legitimate grievances, both economic and political. And
        it is important for the authorities to respond positively to that, and to be
        able to hold out the hope and prospect of reform in the future. That is the
        answer to the situation rather than repression.¡±
        Hague repeated western ambiguity towards the regime. ¡°It is not for use to try
        to choose the rulers of other countries. For the moment we should concentrating
        on advocating the right response.¡± He called for ¡°evolutionary change¡±.
        In a pooled interview Hague said the Foreign Office was reviewing travel advice
        to Egypt.
        Based on a phone call to the British ambassador in Cairo, Hague said the main
        ¡°problems¡± were in Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez. ¡°Those are places where there
        is the greatest risk of violence,¡± Hague said.
        He added: ¡°We are not sure of the whereabouts of the Mohamed ElBaradei. There
        are rumours of restraints on his movements, but we don¡¯t have any specific
        information.¡±
        3.43pm: Egyptian state TV says Mubarak has asked the army to take charge of
        security alongside the police. Looks like that is how he intends to impose the
        curfew, due to start in about 15 minutes.
        3.38pm: State security have entered al-Jazeera¡¯s building in Cairo, it is
        reporting. It says they may have been chasing activists.
        Outside the news organisation¡¯s offices, in remarkable scenes, a momentary
        truce has been called between police and protesters while protesters pray. Just
        a few moments ago police were throwing teargas cannisters at them and now this:
        Screengrab from al-Jazeera
        3.30pm: Egyptian state media is reporting a curfew starting at 6pm tonight
        (about 30 minutes away) and running until 7am tomorrow in Cairo, Alexandria and
        Suez.
        The way it¡¯s looking on the streets at the moment suggests there is little
        chance of people obeying the order and what can the police actually do to
        enforce it.
        3.26pm: Protesters are in control of most streets in Alexandria, says
        al-Jazeera.
        3.24pm: A screengrab shows the BBC Arabic journalist Asad Al Sawi after he was
        attacked by thugs acting for the government.
        3.17pm: A second police station has been taken over by protesters in Suez,
        reports al-Jazeera.
        3.12pm: Following up from the previous update, al-Jazeera just showed pictures
        of protesters jumping and cheering beside what appeared to be an army armoured
        vehicle in Cairo with the occupants in the vehicle not responding in any kind of
        negative fashion. It¡¯s too early to get carried away but al-Jazeera was
        suggesting this could be a sign that the army¡¯s allegiance is with the people.
        Let¡¯s just hope the hopes of the people are not misplaced.
        3.05pm: Egyptian protesters in Cairo are calling for the army to side with them
        against the police, Reuters reports:
        Egyptian protesters in Cairo chanted slogans calling for the army to support
        them, complaining of police violence during clashes on Friday in which security
        forces fired teargas and rubber bullets. ¡°Where is the army? Come and see what
        the police is doing to us. We want the army. We want the army,¡± the protesters
        in one area of central Cairo shouted, shortly before police fired teargas on
        them.
        3.03pm: The International Crisis Group has condemned the detention of Mohamed
        ElBaradei, who serves on Crisis Group¡¯s board of trustees, and the violence
        against the demonstrators:
        Crisis Group President Louise Arbour said:
        His detention has no credible basis. It also will not serve Egypt¡¯s interests
        at this critical juncture. In a situation as tense as this, repression and abuse
        can only further inflame the situation. Rather than resort to repression, the
        authorities should heed demands of the population for dramatic political, social
        and economic transformation.
        2.58pm: An incredible picture from Cairo, taken earlier today, of people praying
        in the streets surrounded by riot police.
        Locals pray in the street in front of The l-Istiqama Mosque watched by riot
        police in Giza on January 28, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt Photograph: Peter
        Macdiarmid/Getty Images
        2.53pm: Protesters have named the man killed in Suez (2.37pm) as Hamada Labib,
        30, a driver.. They blamed his death on a gunshot, reports Reuters. It adds:
        Egyptian police abandoned central areas of the industrial port city after
        demonstrations in which thousands of protesters overwhelmed security lines and
        torched a police station, a Reuters witness said. Police had tried to disperse
        the protesters, who hurled stones and chanted for the end to President Hosni
        Mubarak¡¯s rule. But they were unable to contain them and moved back, abandoning
        at least eight big police trucks. Protesters smashed the windows and tried to
        flip one of the trucks over. Hundreds of members of security forces had gathered
        in a large group around the governor¡¯s offence, where there was no sign of
        protesters.
        2.50pm: Rawya Rageh, for al-Jazeera, says she has seen evidence of a protester
        killed in Alexandria, a bloody body being held aloft through the streets with
        people chanting ¡°There is no God but God¡±. She adds that police have now been
        overrun by protesters in the city.
        2.48pm: The NDP headquarters in Dumya/Daniette, 131 miles north-east of Cairo,
        and Al Mansoura, 120km north-east of Cairohave both been destroyed, according to
        the Egyptian Association for Change.
        2.39pm: Egyptian security officials say Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei
        is under house arrest.
        2.37pm: Reuters is reporting the death of protester in Suez:
        Egyptians carried the body of a protester through Suez on Friday after clashes
        with police who withdrew from central areas of the eastern city leaving some
        main streets to demonstrators, a Reuters witness said. ¡°They have killed my
        brother,¡± shouted one of the demonstrators.
        2.32pm: Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director of Human Rights Watch, gives this
        detailed account of how protesters overwhelmed police in Alexandria today.
        After prayers, the protesters came out of a mosque and started shouting slogans.
        They were saying ¡°peaceful, peaceful¡± and raising their hands. They were
        immediately attacked by police in an armoured car firing teargas. Fierce clashes
        started then, with exchanges of rock throwing. About 200 police faced about
        1,000 protesters. The clashes lasted for nearly two hours. Then a much larger
        crowd of protesters came from another direction. They were packed in four blocks
        deep. Police tried to hold them back with teargas and rubber bullets, but they
        were finally overwhelmed.
        Then the police just gave up, at about the time of afternoon prayers. Protesters
        gave water to police and talked to them. It was was all peaceful. Hundreds of
        protesters were praying in the street.
        Now walking down to downtown Alexandria, the whole road is packed as far as we
        can see, people shouting slogans against [Hosni] Mubarak and his son Gamal.
        Asking others to join them. It is a very festive atmosphere. Women in veils, old
        men, children, I even saw a blind man being led. And there are no police
        anywhere.
        http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2011/jan/28/egypt-protests-live-updates#block-22





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.